It's an absolutely perfect day in the tri-state area. Beautiful, sunny, low humidity, a nice crisp breeze. What a day for a stellar pitching matchup in an afternoon rubber game at the Stadium. Orioles ace Erik Bedard has been one of the best pitchers in the league since April (2.32 ERA, 9-2, 87 hits and 157 Ks in 128 innings, quality starts in 17 of 19 games) and is a legitimate Cy Young contender. Yankees rookie Phil Hughes has a 4.64 ERA in just four major league starts, but two of those starts can be written off as one was his major league debut and the other was his first in the majors after three months on the DL. The two starts that followed those two have seen him post this combined line: 12 1/3 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 12 K, with the lone run coming on a solo homer. Hughes threw a career-high 95 pitches in his last start in Cleveland finishing six strong, so endurance is no longer a concern. Sit back and enjoy this one.
Aiding the enjoyment is the knowledge that Jeff Karstens and Jim Brower have both been jettisoned from the roster (via option and likely DFA, respectively) and replaced by Edwar Ramirez (who was back to his old tricks in Columbus, striking out 22 in 12 1/3 innings while allowing just 12 baserunners and two runs since being demoted) and Sean Henn. In his most recent major league stint and subsequent work in triple-A combined, Henn has posted this line: 11 1/3 IP, 13 H, 5 ER, 5 BB, 13 K, which yeilds a 3.97 ERA.